Marie, Marie Flore
was a small girl of ten
whom I met in the south end
of France.
Stepping out of the crowd
was the daughter
of someone with flowers for me,
we were friends at a glance.
She spoke no English but sat
by my side in the car
and pointed out places en route
to the village of Arles.

Marie, Marie Flore
came to table that night
as I dined in an ancient hotel.
The room
was all fitted with things
from the seventeenth century
and they suited her well.
She would eat nothing but sat
in her chair like a queen
and laughed at my French
but seemed always to know
what I'd mean.

Marie, Marie Flore
came to hear me that night
when I sang
for the people of Arles.
She stood back in the shadows
of a ruined arena,
her frame in my mind
was never too far.
In the rush that did follow
I found she was holding my hand
and ushering me
through an evening
the elders had planned.

Marie, Marie Flore,
I will always remember
your eyes,
your smile and your grace.
The gold that flowed
with your laughter remains
to enlighten the image
I have of your face.
For I have seen children
with faces much
wiser than time,
and you, my Marie,
are most certainly
one of this kind.

Marie, Marie Flore,
all the odds say
I see you again
by plan or by chance.
But if not you'll be there
when I'm dreaming of rain
over Paris
or sun on the south end
of France.
Marie, Marie, Marie Flore

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